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Peter Datjing's Story Peter Datjing's Story

Peter Datjing's Story

My eyes have gotta be fixed up so I can go back again and help the community - help the children for their future.

- Peter Datjing

Datjing’s eyesight is crucial for his independence, his livelihood, and the culture of his people. The elder and leader of the Gumatj (Burarrawanga) clan spends his days on Elcho Island in North East Arnhem Land fishing, hunting, teaching, and plying his trade as a renowned painter.

But as blinding cataract began to affect his vision, Datjing found himself not only losing his livelihood, but losing his purpose. Soon, he would no longer be able to hunt, teach, paint. His stories and vivid paintings are part of the culture he passes on to the younger generation of his clan – and they were all at risk. 

Fortunately Datjing’s eyes have been saved, thanks to cataract surgery facilitated by The Foundation and our generous supporters. Free from cataract and able to see clearly, Datjing is ecstatic. He’s returned to his life and work, knowing he can protect his culture and fulfil his responsibility as an Elder in the community. came here to change me and help me so I'll be on my way back again. Rubbing, painting, singing, dancing...I'm a very lucky man.
- Peter Datjing

This is the work that Fred started but we need your help to ensure it continues. Your donation can help restore sight to people like Datjing.

Fred Hollows believed that no matter who you were or where you lived, everyone deserved quality eye care. But for Indigenous Australians, quality eye care isn’t a given, and stories like Datjing’s are still all too common. It’s a shocking fact that Indigenous Australians are 6 times more likely to go blind than non-Indigenous Australians.


With 94% percent of vision loss in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being preventable or treatable, The Fred Hollows Foundation and our supporters know what needs to be done. Our presence in rural Australia and partnerships with local hospitals increase access to eye health services and screening for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is done through programs such as the Top End Outreach Ophthalmology Resources Project.